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One Chance At Love

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«One Chance At Love» - Кэрол Мортимер

Carole Mortimer is one of Mills & Boon’s best loved Modern Romance authors. With nearly 200 books published and a career spanning 35 years, Mills & Boon are thrilled to present her complete works available to download for the very first time! Rediscover old favourites – and find new ones! – in this fabulous collection…Taming her Greek god…Dizzy James first sees Professor Zach Bennett swimming naked in his castle pool—and what a sight it is! The normally stuffy looking scholar has a body made for sin, and Dizzy would love to see what else he’s hiding…But can she convince Zach that she’s not the wayward girl he’s been led to believe she is? And that, despite her name, Dizzy is anything but? What Zach thinks of her should be a matter of supreme indifference to her. Yet somehow, it isn’t…
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One Chance at Love Carole Mortimer

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‘I’M GOING insane! If something doesn’t soon happen to free me from here, they’re going to have to lock me up in a real prison for killing my own uncle!’

Dizzy held the receiver away from her ear as her friend’s voice rose in desperation. ‘Do I take it, Christi, dear,’ she drawled during a brief respite in the tirade—probably so that Christi could take air into her starved lungs, for she hadn’t stopped bemoaning her fate since Dizzy answered her call five minutes earlier, ‘that this visit with your uncle isn’t working out?’ She again held the receiver away from her poor abused ear, as Christi told her exactly what she thought of her visit to the Lake District. ‘And I didn’t even realise you knew words like that!’ she mocked teasingly.

‘I mean it, Dizzy,’ Christi said frantically. ‘I can’t stand it here much longer without breaking out in some way that’s going to totally destroy any chance of my uncle agreeing to my inheriting my money on my twenty-first birthday!’

Christi always had had a flair for the dramatic, which was perhaps as well, since she had chosen acting as a career, Dizzy acknowledged ruefully. But she very much doubted Christi really would do anything desperate, not when so much depended on her remaining her usually serene self. In fact, this Zachariah Bennett must be a bit of a monster to have ruffled Christi’s feathers at all!

‘You only have another month to go,’ she reminded her friend gently.

‘Three weeks and five days,’ Christi corrected sharply. ‘I’ve been counting! And I could have murdered him, disposed of the body, and disappeared without trace by then!’

Dizzy couldn’t help but chuckle at this uncharacteristic violence from a woman who usually avoided stepping on an ant where possible!

For the last week Christi had been staying with her uncle in his Lake District home, intent on impressing the man who had the guardianship of her inheritance with her maturity and ability to handle the considerable amount of money her parents had left in trust for her on their deaths three years ago. Christi was all too aware that if her uncle decided otherwise she would have to wait until she was twenty-five, when the money would come to her automatically. Dizzy could quite see that murdering her uncle and burying him in an unmarked grave could jeopardise that good impression Christi was trying to make!

‘What’s wrong with him?’ She frowned her puzzlement.

‘He’s fusty, dusty, spends all day working on history books that no one’s going to read—–’

‘Oh I don’t know about that,’ Dizzy objected mildly. ‘I found his book on the Romans very interesting—–’

‘I don’t consider you any judge of literature when you can spend half an hour looking at a children’s annual!’ Christi dismissed disgustedly.

And enjoyed every minute of it, too, Dizzy thought with a mischievous grin. But she knew Christi wouldn’t appreciate hearing about that in her present mood. ‘I was just making sure it was a suitable present for a five-year-old,’ she defended without rancour.

‘One of your godchildren, I suppose,’ her friend sighed acknowledgement. ‘How many do you have now?’

‘Six,’ she related proudly. ‘And, in case you’re interested, Sarah loved the annual.’

‘The only thing I’m interested in at the moment is getting away from here,’ Christi groaned. ‘When my uncle isn’t working, he has his nose stuck in a research book. And Castle Haven is exactly that, Dizzy,’ she added incredulously. ‘A huge monstrosity of a castle, stuck in the middle of all this water and mountains. It’s like being in a giant freezer!’ She sounded distraught. ‘I never thought I’d be able to sympathise with a joint of beef! I ask you, Dizzy, whoever heard of wearing a jumper in the house in June!’

‘A castle, hm?’ she repeated interestedly. ‘Is it—–’

‘Dizzy, it’s just a draughty old castle!’ Christi cut in impatiently. ‘It’s stuck out in the middle of nowhere, and if my uncle has any friends in the neighbourhood then I haven’t met them. Good grief, Dizzy, I actually went to bed at nine-thirty last night. Nine thirty!’ she repeated, in case Dizzy hadn’t been able to believe it the first time around—as Christi herself obviously hadn’t!

And she could quite understand why: Christi was a night person, who didn’t usually wake up until ten o’clock in the evening. Things must be more desperate than Dizzy had given Christi credit for!

‘How am I going to convince my uncle I’m a responsible adult, perfectly mature enough to handle my own money, if I give in to this craving I have to put my hands around his throat and strangle the life out of him just to relieve the boredom?’ Christi wailed emotionally.

This time Dizzy held back her chuckle, trying desperately to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. ‘I can see how that might make him have second thoughts,’ she finally said, wryly.

‘He already thinks I’m irresponsible because I dropped out of college to go to drama school,’ Christi told her worriedly.

Dizzy gave a snort of laughter. ‘If he thinks you’re irresponsible, I hate to think what he would make of me! Christi, why don’t you—–’

‘Oh, damn, the gong just sounded for dinner,’ her friend muttered frantically. ‘I’ll have to go, my uncle “deplores tardiness”.’ Her change of voice, to stern reproval, over the last two words indicated that it was a direct quote. ‘Try and come up with a believable excuse for me to come back to London, Dizzy,’ she urged desperately. ‘Before I go completely insane…’

Dizzy rang off more slowly than her friend, her expression thoughtful as she finished preparing the pilchards on toast that was to be her own dinner. She adored the fish, ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if she had the chance, and indulged the addiction to the full whenever she was alone, which wasn’t very often. If having two cats and a dog constantly underfoot could be classed as being alone now! She jealously guarded her dinner as all three animals tried to steal it from her plate as she ate; she really would have to have a word with Christi about the deplorable manners of her pets.

She looked around the flat appreciatively, loving the mellow décor and comfortable furniture, mentally thanking Christi for inviting her to stay and care for her pets for her while she was away.

If only Gladys would stop trying to steal her pilchards, she grumbled under her breath, even as she tapped a sneaking paw away from her plate.

Feeling grateful that she wasn’t subjected to Christi’s enforced early nights, she pulled a tattered and dog-eared book from her capacious shoulder-bag, opening it to the page she had marked half-way through the seven hundred pages, instantly losing herself in the page-turning historical adventure by one of her favourite authors. She had read the book many times before, but Claudia Laurence knew how to write a book so that it was possible to gain something new from it every time it was read. A reader’s delight!

Two hundred pages—and five hours—later, Dizzy decided it was time to go to bed. She felt as if she had barely fallen asleep when the telephone beside the bed began to ring, and she shot upright in the bed, completely and suddenly awake. She felt half drunk with tiredness as she picked up the receiver.

‘I’ve got it!’ came the eagerly disorientated whisper of a voice.

An obscene telephone call, Dizzy acknowledged disgustedly. ‘Well, now that you’ve got it, you know what you can do with it, don’t you?’ She reached out to replace the receiver.

Dizzy!’ came the distressed cry down the telephone line, halting her action. ‘Dizzy, don’t you dare hang up on me!’

She blinked; obscene telephone callers didn’t usually know their victims’ names, did they? Not that she was an expert on the subject—heaven forbid!—but she didn’t think they did. And now that the voice had been raised slightly from that eerie whisper, it did sound vaguely familiar—in fact, it sounded a little like Christi. But why on earth would Christi be calling her at—a quarter past six in the morning? she wondered, as she glanced at the bedside clock. Christi hadn’t been known to surface before at least eight o’clock before—but then, she had never been known to go to bed at nine-thirty before, either!

Dizzy leant up on her elbow, pushing her long hair back from her face. ‘Christi, is that you?’ she yawned.

‘Of course it’s me,’ her friend hissed. ‘Who else would be calling you at this time of the morning?’

The answer to that was so obvious that Dizzy didn’t even attempt to make it. ‘Why are you whispering?’ she asked curiously, still attempting to clear the fog of sleep from her brain.

‘So that no one can hear me!’ came the explosive reply.

Logical, she thought as she yawned again, very logical. ‘Why don’t you want anyone to hear you?’ she asked uninterestedly.

‘Because it’s only six o’clock in the morning!’ Christi said exasperatedly, forgetting to whisper, then muttering self-disgustedly as she realised what she had done.

Dizzy ignored the mutterings; she thought it was best to do so. ‘Why are you telephoning at six o’clock in the morning if it’s going to disturb people?’ she urged sleepily, wishing she hadn’t been one of the people disturbed.

‘Because I’ve come up with a way of getting me out of this place!’ Christi announced triumphantly.

‘Congratulations,’ drawled Dizzy drily. ‘But couldn’t you have waited until a decent hour to let me in on the secret?’

‘No—because you’re going to help get me out!’ her friend said with satisfaction.

‘You want me to bake you a cake with a metal file in it, and send it to you?’ she derided.

Christi groaned at her levity. ‘Can’t you even be serious when you know what trouble I’m in?’

‘Sorry.’ Dizzy sobered. ‘What do you want me to do that will help you escape from the fusty, dusty Zachariah? Sorry,’ she grimaced, as she could sense Christi’s rising anger at her teasing. ‘Go ahead, you have my full attention,’ she encouraged interestedly.

Christi gave a snort that clearly said she doubted that, but she launched into her explanation anyway. ‘It was something you said that gave me the idea, actually,’ she told Dizzy excitedly, hastily lowering her voice as she realised that, in her enthusiasm, she had once again forgotten to whisper. ‘I mean, how can I be considered irresponsible when I’m training for a career, have lived in the same apartment for years, have pets that are well cared for, have—–’

‘I get the picture—you sober citizen, you,’ Dizzy drawled. ‘And, as it is now almost six-thirty in the morning, and I’ve barely had any sleep, do you think you could get to the point?’

‘Oh, yes.’ Christi gave a dismissive sigh as she realised she had been going on a bit. ‘The answer isn’t to show my uncle how responsible I am—–’

‘It isn’t?’ Dizzy frowned; she must have dozed off in the middle of this conversation somewhere, for she had thought Christi’s proving to her uncle that she was more than capable of managing her own monetary affairs was exactly the point!

‘No,’ Christi confirmed impatiently. ‘It’s showing him how irresponsible I’m not!’

From her friend’s triumphant tone as she made the announcement, Dizzy knew this was the place she was supposed to come in and tell her how clever she was being, but so far this still didn’t make a lot of sense to her.

‘Dizzy, you haven’t fallen asleep on me, have you?’ Christi snapped suspiciously at her prolonged silence.

She roused herself wearily. ‘Of course not. And don’t shout, you’ll wake up the household,’ she reminded tiredly.

‘It could do with waking up,’ Christi muttered with feeling.

‘We’ve been through all that,’ Dizzy said drily. ‘I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic, love, but I really can’t understand what’s so terrible about staying with your uncle for a few weeks. And—–’

‘You soon will,’ her friend said with satisfaction.

‘—surely a few early nights aren’t going to—– What do you mean, I soon will?’ Suddenly, sleep didn’t seem so important any more. ‘Christi, what are you up to?’ she prompted sharply, knowing that whatever it was, she probably wasn’t going to like it!

‘Who is letting you make free use of her apartment while she’s out of town?’ Christi prompted calmly.

‘Who is baby-sitting your pets—at the cost of pilchards and solitude!—while you are out of town?’ she instantly returned.

‘Who got up in the middle of the night to open the school dormitory window so that you could climb in off the roof—–’

‘Who forgot to come down to unlock the door and fell asleep until I climbed up and knocked on the window?’ she reminded pointedly.

‘Oh, all right,’ Christi acknowledged impatiently. ‘Maybe that was my fault. But who helped get you out of spending the night in prison the time the police raided that illegal gambling—–’

‘You know very well that I had gone there with a reporter who was doing research for an article,’ she protested.

‘But who came to the police station and managed to convince the police of that? Who got you away from there before it became public knowledge, and your picture appeared on the front page of all the tabloids?’ Christi pounced triumphantly.

‘You did,’ Dizzy conceded heavily. ‘And now I owe you one, right?’

‘Oh, no, Dizzy!’ Her friend sounded genuinely shocked at the suggestion. ‘It isn’t a question of paying me back. I was just trying to point out that we’re friends, and that friends try to help each other when they can.’

Dizzy gave an indulgent smile, easily able to visualise Christi’s earnest expression: that faintly hurt look in enormous blue eyes that dominated the beauty of her face. Christi was tall and elegant, with a natural serenity and kindness; Zachariah Bennett had to be dense not to be able to see that.

Dizzy sighed, freely acknowledging that Christi was the best friend she had ever had. ‘What do you want me to do?’

‘Come up here and—–’

‘Not that, Christi,’ she protested, visions of being sent to bed at nine-thirty by Christi’s ancient uncle flashing through her mind. A truly free spirit, just the thought of it reminded her too much of her childhood.

‘—show my uncle just what an irresponsible person is!’ Christi finished triumphantly, totally deaf to Dizzy’s protest.

‘Thanks!’ she grimaced ruefully.

‘Don’t go and act all wounded on me,’ her friend chided lightly. ‘You’ve deliberately cultivated your life-style, enjoy having no permanent home, no visible means of support, no real belongings except what you carry about in that cavernous sack you call a shoulder-bag, and the pack you throw on your back.’

‘I admit I like to travel light—–’

Travel being the operative word,’ Christi derided. ‘I never knew of anyone wearing out their passport before!’

‘I didn’t wear it out,’ she protested. ‘It just got—a little full,’ she excused dismissively.

‘Exactly,’ Christi said with satisfaction. ‘You’re everything that my uncle would consider irresponsible; drifting through life, staying with friends whenever you get the chance—–’


‘And God knows where you live the rest of the time,’ Christi concluded in a starchily disapproving voice—as if she were quoting verse and chapter from a too-familiar sermon.

As indeed she was! Dizzy had heard those very same words from her father too often not to know where they came from. After hearing the same thing for years, she had taken Christi home with her once as self-defence; but even her friend’s presence hadn’t prevented the usual lecture. Obviously Christi had never forgotten the humiliating experience, either!

‘I thought you also called me friend,’ Dizzy reminded her drily. ‘Although I’m beginning to wonder about that!’ she mocked.

‘My uncle doesn’t have to know that,’ Christi dismissed. ‘We can say you’re just an old school acquaintance of mine who happens to be—–’

‘Drifting through,’ Dizzy finished derisively.

‘Exactly,’ Christi said eagerly. ‘And of course I’m your friend,’ she defended indignantly. ‘Goodness, we know that none of that drivel is true. And, even if it were, it wouldn’t make any difference to those of us that love you. You’re the most generous, giving, totally unselfish—–’

‘Enough, enough,’ she drawled ruefully. ‘When do you want this drifting wastrel of an acquaintance to arrive on the castle doorstep, expecting another hand-out?’ she prompted drily.

‘Today,’ Christi pounced eagerly.

Dizzy had been expecting that, otherwise there would have been no need for this hasty call in what was, to her at least, still the middle of the night. ‘And who will take care of your food-stealing pets if I leave?’ she reminded lightly.

‘Lucas will come in from next door and do that,’ Christi dismissed. ‘They all love him, and he usually does it for me if I go away. And if you hate looking after the cats and dog so much, how come they are always completely spoilt after one of your visits? Last time you came to stay, Gladys and Josephine spent the next week sniffing my food cupboard, looking for your tins of pilchards. And I just bet Henry is sharing your bed right this minute!’ she announced disgustedly.

Dizzy looked down guiltily to the foot of the bed, where the Yorkshire terrier was curled up, asleep, on the quilt. ‘He gets lonely in the kitchen at night,’ she defended. ‘And he has such soulful brown eyes that I don’t have the heart to say no to him.’

‘A pair of soulful brown eyes and loneliness are not reasons to take him into bed with you! He—–Oh, damn, I think I heard someone coming.’ Christi lapsed back into that desperate whispering. ‘I’ll see you later, OK?’ she urged frantically, sounding more and more like a hounded animal.

The impression didn’t in the least endear the idea of going up to the Lake District to Dizzy, to show herself off as some lost cause just so that Zachariah Bennett could say to Christi, ‘Thank God you didn’t turn out like her, here’s your money and welcome to it’!

If it really were going to be as easy as that…

* * *

Dizzy had heard much about the beauty of the Lake District, and as her travels usually took her out of the country, rather than around it, this was the first time she had ever seen this lovely part of England.

But nothing she had heard about the Lake District had prepared her for the scenery before her now. No one had told her she could expect to see naked men, one naked man in particular, as he cavorted about in one of the smaller lakes!

As Christi had said, the man in the flat next door to hers had been only too happy to pet-sit Gladys, Josephine and Henry, and so the only hitch there could have been to her setting off for Castle Haven had neatly been removed.

In the clear light of day—after several more hours’ sleep—Dizzy was less sure than ever that Christi’s plan was a good one. It might work if Zachariah Bennett—the old curmudgeon!—could be made to believe she and Christi were just acquaintances, but the two of them had been friends since their first term together at boarding-school over twelve years ago. The familiarity of a friendship like that might be a little difficult to disguise. A telephone call to Christi to tell her just that had elicited the information that her friend had gone out for the morning with her uncle, and so, not knowing what else to do, Dizzy had set out for the castle. They would just have to hope for the best when she got there.

It had been a pleasant trip up on the train. She might be a free spirit, she thought, but she wasn’t stupid—it was no longer safe to hitch-hike, if it ever had been! Enquiries at the station, when she got off the train, had told her that the castle was about eight miles away and, after the long train journey, stretching her legs for a few miles sounded like a good idea.

The first six miles of her walk had been really enjoyable—the view of this lake was even more so!

She sat on top of one of the hills that surrounded the lake on all sides, unashamedly watching the sleek-bodied man as he cavorted about in the water like a dolphin. Even water-slicked, his hair was discernible as dark blond, with blond highlights that any woman would envy, but which were obviously perfectly natural on this man. From the deep tan of his body, he swam naked like this often. Old Zachariah Bennett would probably have a seizure if he could see the guest, who was going to soon turn up unexpectedly on his doorstep, watching the antics of this naked man. And enjoying it, too!

He really was a very handsome specimen, she thought admiringly as he stepped out of the water to dry off in the sun. He was tall and lithe, and from the look of him he either cut down trees or built roads for a living, for his muscles had been rippling powerfully. Or else he was just a secret weight-lifter. Whatever he was, a fusty scholar like Zachariah Bennett would probably recoil in horror at such virility: the man’s shoulders wide and strong, golden hair glinting on his bronzed chest, his stomach taut and flat, and his hips and thighs… Apollo himself couldn’t have looked better!

Dizzy reluctantly drew herself away from the beauty of the scene as the man stretched out in the sun to dry some more. No doubt he wouldn’t mind at all that she had been admiring him—he wouldn’t have been swimming in a lake where anyone could come along and see him if he did—but she really did have to be getting along to the castle now. It was a pity to spoil the moment, but time was quickly passing, and Christi’s thoughts were probably on the unmarked grave again by now!

But she didn’t forget the man as she walked the last two miles, whistling happily to herself, the day suddenly seeming full of new possibilities. Maybe the man was a local, maybe Christi would know who he was … But, of course, her friend had said she hadn’t met anyone else in the area. What a shame; it might have been interesting meeting the Greek god. It might have helped her irresponsible image along a little more, too, if she could have brought the local womaniser back to the castle to meet the professor.

Not that her image needed any help, she acknowledged ruefully as she glanced down at herself. Her denims were old and patched at the knees, the material faded in the usual places, her T-shirt just as old, but out of shape after numerous washes. She put a self-conscious hand up to the blonde bubbly curls that had escaped the long plait down her spine and that had helped give her her name, framing her small, heart-shaped face that was dominated by green, catlike eyes. Small, just over five feet, with breasts that were slightly too large for her body, and her fly-away blonde hair, she was the perfect ‘dizzy blonde’ image. No doubt she would be Zachariah Bennett’s most unusual house—castle—guest, to date!

Castle Haven proved to be exactly what Christi had claimed it was, a huge turreted castle that seemed totally out of place among the placid lakes and tree-covered hills and mountains that surrounded it on all sides.

Unlike Christi, however, Dizzy found the castle fascinating, and longed to know its history. But she supposed that would never do, not when she was supposed to be showing Zachariah Bennett just how wayward and uncaring the youth of today could be, and, in the process, what a shining example of responsibility his niece was. It would never do to let old Zach know she was probably as interested in history as he was!

The castle was a fitting home for him, as a historian of some repute—Dizzy knew him mainly from his books—and as she drew nearer Dizzy could see that on the outside, at least, it had been maintained in beautiful condition. Writing history books must pay very well! she thought.

The butler who opened the door several minutes after she had pulled the bell—hoping it was ringing somewhere in the depths of the castle—looked as if he might have been here doing this very same thing since the castle had originally been built! Snowy-haired, with an aloofness that was felt rather than physically visible in his thin body and blandly expressionless face, his disapproval of the ‘person’ standing at the huge heavy oak door he had swung open was a tangible thing. Maybe he was old Zachariah himself; probably what he earned as a historian didn’t run to a butler as well as a castle!

‘Hi!’ She gave him her brightest smile, easing her backpack on to one shoulder. ‘My name’s Dizzy James, and I—–’

‘The castle is not open to the public, Miss James,’ he informed her frostily.

She had been going to say ‘I’m a friend of Christi’s’, but his condescending attitude brought out the devil in her. ‘What a pity,’ she drawled. ‘I’m sure you would get thousands of people wanting to tramp all over the place if you decided to change your mind.’ She looked up at him innocently as he stiffened in shock at the suggestion.

His raised eyebrows and pursed lips showed his distaste. ‘Let me give you directions back to the main road,’ he said coldly. ‘You go back the way you just came, and then—–’

‘Oh, but I don’t want to go back to the main road!’ She smiled at him, her eyes gleaming like a cat’s.

‘This is private property, Miss James, and—–’

‘But I’m here to see Christi Bennett,’ she informed him happily.

‘Miss Christi?’ This time his guard was completely down, due to severe shock and horrified disbelief that ‘Miss Christi’ could even know such a person!

Obviously, he was the family butler, after all, and as she had only come here to shock Zachariah Bennett, not upset the whole household, she gave the man in front of her her most engaging smile. It had been known to melt frostier hearts than his, although not always, and never when she really willed it to. This time she was partially successful, although only grudgingly, as the butler slowly opened the door for her to come inside.

He nodded to her to wait where she stood, just inside the huge reception area. ‘I’ll go and tell Miss Christi that you’re here—–’

‘That won’t be necessary, Fredericks.’ Christi came bounding down the wide stairway like a whirlwind, her face flushed with excitement—the first she had known for some time, by the look of the shadows beneath her usually sparkling blue eyes. ‘Dizzy!’ she greeted thankfully, clasping her hands in hers before hugging her tightly.

She allowed Christi the indulgence for several seconds, realising her friend was under severe strain. But all the time she was aware of Fredericks as he watched them with distant curiosity, and so she finally whispered to Christi, ‘Acquaintances, remember?’

Christi stiffened at the reminder, her arms falling back to her sides as she stepped back reluctantly, forcing indifference into her expression. ‘That will be all, thank you, Fredericks,’ she said, turning to the butler. ‘Dizzy, how nice to see you again!’ Her words were the insincerely polite ones of a host having an unwanted guest foisted upon them, although her eyes were dancing with mischief as she looked at Dizzy.

Easily one of the most beautiful women Dizzy had ever seen, with glorious ebony hair and huge blue eyes, and a model-girl figure, Christi wasn’t in the least conceited about her looks, but felt them merely to be her stock-in-trade for the career she had chosen for herself. She had even been warned that being too beautiful could hinder her career, rather than help it, if she was serious about becoming an actress of any repute.

The two women stood grinning at each other once they were alone in the high-ceilinged entrance hall, their breathing echoing hollowly against the grey stone.

‘I thought you weren’t coming.’ Christi finally sighed her relief that she had been proved wrong.

Dizzy’s smile widened. ‘I needed a little time to wake up,’ she teased, reminding her friend of the earliness of her call. ‘Besides, how could I let down the person who probably stopped me being put in jail—at least overnight?’ she mocked, thinking of her friend’s efforts of bribery and corruption.

Christi looked embarrassed. ‘I only—–’

‘What’s going on here?’

Dizzy didn’t need the confirmation of her friend’s suddenly guiltily apprehensive expression to guess that the man who had silently entered the hall through another door was fusty, dusty Zachariah Bennett. He spoke quietly, but nevertheless with a complete assurance that he was entitled to the explanation he demanded. If he had come in on the conversation soon enough to overhear her reference to almost being put in jail, then that wasn’t so surprising!

‘Uncle Zach.’ Christi quickly regained control, crossing to the man as he stood slightly in the shadows beneath the stairway, the door he had used just behind him, probably belonging to the kitchen or cellar, Dizzy thought. ‘I asked you if an old school acquaintance of mine could come to stay,’ Christi reminded lightly.

Dizzy turned to look at her; she had told her uncle of her visit? What had happened to the ‘old acquaintance’ who had just happened to be ‘drifting’ through, had ‘heard Christi was in the area and decided to pay her a call’?

Christi had changed the story without warning her! But she wasn’t able to dwell on that, as Zachariah Bennett at last stepped out of the shadows.

Baggy, and definitely untailored corduroys, a cream shirt that looked more than a little creased beneath the too-large tweed jacket, were exactly the sort of attire she had expected the bookishly austere Professor Zachariah Bennett to wear. But, as her wincing gaze rose, and she saw the gold-streaked blond hair, she knew that the ill-fitting clothing covered the magnificent body of the Greek god she had watched as he had swum naked not half an hour ago!


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